Persimfans is one of the few orchestras which perform without a conductor. Judging from a short video documentary about them (link at bottom) they apparently do a good deal of modern, avant-theatrical repertoire. However in this video they perform Beethoven's 3rd Symphony, the ever-inspiring "Eroica".
I really like the fact that (here at least) they play in a circle facing inwards. Somehow it reminds me of a campfire jamboree... I believe B. would have approved of this kind of unusual "communal" music-making.
PERSIMFANS is a symphony conductorless ensemble organized in Moscow by the Music Laboratory of the School of Dramatic Art Theatre in early 2008. Originally PERvyi SIMFonicheskiy ANSambl bez dirizhera (an abbreviation for The First Conductorless Symphony Ensemble) was founded by the violinist Lev Ceitlin in 1922 right after the Civil War. The first Soviet years were marked by collectivist utopia that in the case of PerSimfAns revealed itself in the idea of providing all its members (up to 150 musicians) with the self-managing authority free from baton/scepter despotism, demonstrating, as Nicholas Slonimsky once wrote, that "in a proletarian state orchestra men do not need a musical dictator". PerSimfAns was striving to make familiar the new-born proletariat with the classical and modern pieces, arranging concerts virtually anywhere: concert halls, working clubs and factories, reaching the widest possible audience, inspiring dozens of imitators in other Soviet cities as well as in Paris, Leipzig and New York and wining worldwide acclaim from such collaborators as Prokofiev, Milhaud, Myaskovsky, Zecchi, Petri etc., including even Klemperer. In 1933 despite its lasting fame the ensemble was forced to halt its activity, thus indicating the end of pure socialist idealism and anticipating total dictatorship of Stalinist regime.
As back in the 1920s, today PerSimfAns consists of the highly acclaimed orchestras members and Moscow conservatory teachers, however nowadays its concerts include not exclusively conductorless performance of symphonic pieces, but the reconstruction of the original noise-ensembles adjusted to their authentic repertoire, ballet troupe staging a forgotten Prokofiev "Trapèze" ballet , litmontage, documentary video montage etc. PerSimfAns brings into public focus rare musical pieces (i.e. "First Concert" by A. Mossolov (1927), "Metal March" by G. Lobachev (1928), "On the Dneprostroi" by J. Meituss (1932), "Intégrations" by I. Wyschnegradsky (1969) etc.) as well as bizarre versions of the famous ones (i.e. "Die Zauberflöte Overture" (Soviet edition for cinemas, clubs and variety from 1930) or even compositions by the contemporary composers (such as Pavel Karmanov or "Vezhlivyi Otkaz" (The Polite Denial) rock-band). In 2010 PerSimfAns is planning to perform Beethovens "Third Symphony", one of the symbolic landmarks in the early Soviet repertoire."
Symphony No.3 in E flat major, op.55 'Eroica' (1805)